Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14772)

Jimmie Johnson led all Team Chevy drivers at Kansas Speedway to bring his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet home in third place in the STP 400, Round 7 on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour.  Carrying a vintage ‘muscle car’ paint scheme in homage of Earth Day, and celebrating the 1967 Chevrolet ‘Mountain Green’ custom color, the five-time champion was a strong contender throughout the 267-lap contest.

Johnson battled his way from the 15th starting position and took over the lead on lap 92.  He held that spot for a mere handful of laps before green flag pit stops brought his No. 48 Chevrolet to pit road. During the stop, one of the pit crew members dropped a lug nut; which cost Johnson valuable seconds.  While he continued to run up-front, he was unable to obtain the right balance in the car to vie for the win. Johnson’s third-place finish marks his fourth top-five finish of 2012.

Kevin Harvick started on the outside front row and pulled away from his competitors early in the race. He remained in the top-five throughout the first portion of the event; but, prior to his second scheduled pit stop of the afternoon, his No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet ran out of fuel. The team was able to get him back on track, but Harvick fought a tight-handling condition to cross the stripe in sixth place.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his consistent campaign in 2012 with a seventh-place finish in the race.  The No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet remained in the top-10 throughout the race, but never found the right balance through the corners that was needed in order to contend for the victory.

Earnhardt Jr.’s teammate Kasey Kahne earned a top-10 finish for the second week in a row and brought his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevy home eighth.

Other Team Chevy finishers were: Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet - 12th; Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet – 13th; Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet - 14th; Kurt Busch, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Inc. Chevrolet – 17th; Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Zecol Chevrolet – 18th; Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet – 20th; Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet – 21st; Jeff Burton, NO. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet – 22nd; Regan Smith, No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Farm American Chevrolet – 24th; David Reutimann, No. 10 Accell Construction Chevrolet – 29th; Dave Blaney, No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet – 37th.

Team Chevy PR

Over the years, Kansas Speedway hasn’t been too kind to Kyle Busch.

But Busch, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), overcame his past disappointment – despite fighting a tight-handling car – to bring home a solid 10th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 on Sunday at Kansas City, Kan. The finish was Busch’s second top-10 result in 10 career starts at Kansas Speedway, which will be repaved and reconfigured before the series returns there in October.

“We fought hard all day with our M&M’s Camry,” said Busch, who earned his third top-10 finish in eight races this season. “All we had was about a 10th-place car, and that’s where we ended up. We just kept fighting tight all day. I didn’t want to get it loose because anytime were loose, we just lose too much time. So we were just trying to find the balance to set the balance perfect. We tried something a little different this weekend to help us on the long runs, and I think that it kind of hurt us just a little bit. We’ll just have to regroup and debrief with Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and get it better for next time.”

After starting 25th, Busch steadily moved up the running order from the drop of the green flag. He climbed to 20th by lap 7, 18th by lap 20 and 14th by lap 56. Despite picking off several spots, Busch fought a car that was too tight in the center and exit of the corner for his liking. Crew chief Dave Rogers worked on Busch’s M&M’s Toyota over the course of the first three pit stops, making air pressure adjustments to loosen the car.

Those changes worked, as Busch climbed into the top-10 on lap 143 of the 267-lap race. While the handling of the car was improved and Rogers kept working to loosen the car, Busch was unable to advance much further. He moved up to as high as eighth and never dropped down to worse than 11th before finishing 10th at the end of the 400-mile race.

“It was a good, halfway strong race for Joe Gibbs Racing,” Rogers said. “We’re really excited for Denny (Hamlin) and the 11 crew to be able to pick up their second victory of the season. We started deep in the field, 25th, and then raced up to 10th. Wish we had a little bit stronger car, but I thought Kyle (Busch) did a good job of getting everything out of the race car that was possible. We just missed it a little bit. We’ll go back and compare the notes with our teammate and see what they did better and hopefully be stronger next time we come back here on the new asphalt.”

Busch’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin won the STP 400. It was Hamlin’s 19th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first victory at Kansas. The win was his third top-five finish in nine races at the 1.5-mile oval. Busch’s other JGR teammate, Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota, finished 15th.

Hamlin finished .700 of a second ahead of runner-up Martin Truex Jr., while Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were three caution periods for 18 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.

With round eight of 36 complete, Hamlin continues to lead the JGR in the championship point standings as he gained one spot to fifth. He has 289 points, 23 behind leader Biffle. Logano stands 12th, 91 points out of first, while Busch gained one spot to 13th, 94 points behind Biffle.

TSC

It was Denny Hamlin's day in the sun.

Taking advantage of changing conditions Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Denny Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. over the final 30 laps to win the STP 400, his second victory of the season, his first at the 1.5-mile track and the 19th of his career.

The victory was the 199th for cars bearing the No. 11, breaking a tie for the all-time lead with the No. 43, made famous by Richard Petty, who drove to 192 of his record 200 wins with that car number.

Jimmie Johnson finished third, followed by Roush Fenway Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Truex moved into second place in the Sprint Cup series standings behind Biffle, who leads by 15 points.

After a late round of green-flag pit stops put all the contending cars on the same sequence, the sun broke through the clouds for the first time all afternoon and changed the complexion of the race.

To that point, Truex had been dominant, having led 173 laps, but the changing conditions made Truex's Toyota "wrecking loose" in the words of the driver. Hamlin passed Truex for the lead through Turn 4 on Lap 237 and began to pull away, with Johnson pursuing from the third position.

To Hamlin, the sunlight was a welcome game-changer.

"Whether it was coincidence or not, our car definitely seemed like, (relative) to the field, was better once the sun came out," Hamlin said. "I felt like our car lost a lot of grip when the sun came out, but I guess a lot of guys did when that happened. I felt like all day I was behind the 56 (Truex), and his car looked so superior to the field.

"We just needed some kind of change -- weather or adjustments or something to get where he was at -- and we kind of got both of them. In overcast conditions, the cars run a little bit tighter, the grip level's higher in the racecar, and it's more of a track-position type race. When the sun's out, the drivers, in my opinion, are more prominent.

"You move around, find the grip, do things in the car to make up for what you don't have. The slicker the conditions are, the better it tends to (be) for our race team. Luckily, we had that run in sunshine."

As clouds covered the sun once again, however, Truex began to close on Hamlin and widen his advantage over Johnson. With 10 laps left, Truex trailed Hamlin by .772 seconds. Five laps later, Truex had closed to .489 seconds behind.

Truex tried to dive beneath Hamlin in Turn 3 twice in the final three laps but couldn't stick the pass.

"Desperation," Truex said wryly. "I was a little bit faster than Denny at the end, but he was running against the wall right where I needed to be, and I was just trying to gain a little bit of ground.

"It was desperation -- last-ditch effort -- just trying something. There was no chance to make it work."

Though Truex's handling ills and Hamlin's surge to the front coincided with the appearance of the sun, Truex blamed his problem on a bad set of tires for the final run.

"I'm just not really sure what to think of that last set of tires," Truex said. "The car had been really good all day, we put the last set on, and I was just wrecking loose for the first 20 laps of that last run.

"Denny was able to get by me, and once he did, the race was over. The car got better longer in the run, and I was able to get back to him, but I'd get three or four car-lengths from him and pick up the aero push . . .

"I guess if we can be this disappointed with second, it kind of shows how far we've come as a race team."

Matt Kenseth finished fourth to lead a trio of Roush Fenway Fords in top 10 in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Fellow RFR teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards finished fifth and ninth. Biffle used the finish to maintain his Sprint Cup point lead, while Edwards moved up two spots to ninth in the
standings. After eight races Roush has three cars in the top nine in the standings, with Kenseth sitting at third.

“It was a good run for us – not great,” said Kenseth. “I wish we could have got up there and mixed it up with the top two a little bit more, bu overall, it was a solid day.  We had good pit stops.  Jimmy and the guys made great adjustments on our car to make it better from yesterday to today.”

“That was a good effort,” said Edwards. “It wasn’t a great result, but a really good effort.  I had a lot of fun racing Kyle (Busch) at the end. That was really neat.  I acted like we were racing for the win and I think he was doing the same thing, so at least we got to have a little fun.  That was a good time.  If that’s the worst Roush Fenway Ford, then we’re going be OK.”

Roush Fenway and NASCAR return to action next weekend at Richmond International Raceway, where RFR has won 14 races and turned over 89,000 laps in NASCAR action.

RFR PR

NASCAR and Juan Pablo Montoya partnered with Univision - the leading Spanish language network and one of the top five networks in the U.S. regardless of language - for NASCAR’s first Spanish language television integration.

The television show, “Nuestra Belleza Latina”, which is in its sixth season, features 12 young women competing in a series of challenges covering a variety of topics – from diction to physical fitness – to become the next Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin Beauty).

In this week’s challenge, Montoya drives contestants to their limits at Homestead- Miami Speedway as they take the passenger seat at over 180 miles per hour while attempting to recite NASCAR facts from memory. Montoya also contributed in deciding who did the best job in this particular challenge.

“I had a lot of fun taking part in this show. It’s hard to say who the winner is going to be and the end of the season. Everyone did a great job. And it’s really great to see NASCAR get involved with Univision and a show like this. It definitely helps bring more exposure to our sport and maybe we’ll gain some new fans along the way.” Said Montoya

Tune in to Univision this Sunday, April 22 at 8 p.m. ET to watch NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya on the network’s leading reality show “Nuestra Belleza Latina”

EGR

As Clint Bowyer stood in the corner of the home clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium answering questions from a reporter, Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas went out of his way to give Bowyer a fist bump.

It was a small gesture, but symbolic nevertheless of NASCAR's growing presence and acceptance among athletes from traditional stick-and-ball sports.

After warming up in the clubhouse, Bowyer had just thrown the ceremonial first pitch at Friday night's game between the Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. The driver of the No. 15 Toyota threw a strike to Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris and earned an appreciative response from the fans in the stands and the Major Leaguers in the clubhouse.

Bowyer understood the significance of the players' reactions.

"It opens your eyes to how big our sport is and how we're all on equal playing ground," Bowyer said. "They're all asking me, 'So who's fast this weekend? I've got to get my fantasy picks in.'

"They all have that going on in their world, too, so that's pretty cool. We're the same way. When college basketball comes around, football -- we all have our fantasy picks."

Whether it's Kurt Busch at his beloved Chicago Cubs, Regan Smith at the Colorado Rockies, Juan Pablo Montoya at Wrigley Field, Kevin Harvick at Yankee Stadium, entourages of drivers at the NFL's Super Bowl or Denny Hamlin caddying for Masters champion Bubba Watson in the Par-3 Competition at Augusta National, NASCAR stars have ramped up their visibility at major sports events.

Delivering the first pitch is a common theme.

Bowyer's pitch described a lazy arc over the 60 feet from the mound to home plate. A NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car at full song covers the same distance in approximately three hundredths of a second. If Bowyer was nervous at being out of his element on a baseball field, it didn't show.

"I'm glad I threw a couple balls in here," he said. "Once you get out there... it was actually harder practicing back here (in the clubhouse). Once you get out there, it's such a big, wide area that it wasn't bad at all. What's the worst that can happen?"

Bowyer answered his own question.

"There's a lot of eyes on you. That's the problem with the first pitch. Not only do you have the whole entire baseball team that you just met and were talking about throwing that ball out there, and they're watching you now..."

When Bowyer races in the Cup series, millions watch, and he's thankful for it. Bowyer ascended to NASCAR's highest level the hard way, in a family that was committed to racing. Growing up, he missed many of the activities that consumed his classmates.

"Yeah, even in high school -- high school parties, anything that most kids did, I was gone from," Bowyer said. "Prom... I never went to any high school dances, anything like that. It is fun to go back and revisit some of those things.

"Most people that know me probably are like, 'He sure likes to go at it pretty hard,' but that's just because I missed a lot of it when I was younger -- but I didn't miss too much of it."


Despite a late draw on a slick track that warmed throughout Saturday's qualifying session, AJ Allmendinger claimed the pole for Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, posting a lap at 175.993 mph (30.683 seconds).

In winning the second Coors Light pole award of his career, his first since 2010 at Phoenix and his first since joining Penske Racing this season, Allmendinger edged Kevin Harvick (175.747 mph) by .043 seconds at the 1.5-mile intermediate speedway, which will begin a facelift -- repaving and reconfiguration— -- as soon as Sunday's race is over.

Joey Logano, the first driver to make a qualifying run, was third fastest at 175.724 mph but must start from the rear on Sunday because of an engine change during Friday's practice session. Denny Hamlin, Logano's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, claimed the fourth starting spot at 175.667 mph, with Mark Martin (175.484 mph) posting the fifth-fastest lap.

In a disappointing session for the Fords, NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle qualified 17th at 174.706 mph, the fastest of all the Ford drivers.

After finishing second at Martinsville to Ryan Newman in the sixth Cup race of the season, Allmendinger was gratified to continue the momentum for his No. 22 Penske Racing team.

"More than anything, I put so much pressure on my shoulders to go out there and perform," Allmendinger said. "They (his Penske team) are used to winning, running up front, getting poles. It's good just to build momentum.

"So, hopefully, we have a solid 400 miles. It's good, but we know the bigger picture's on Sunday, and I'm happy to be part of the team."

Harvick knew he had a good lap going but said he might have gotten overly excited in the second set of corners.

"That might have cost us the pole, but overall it's been a great year for us qualifying-wise so far," Harvick said. "The cars have been fast every week, and as soon as we put together a whole weekend without me making a mistake or things not going exactly right, I think everything's going to come together nicely.

"So I'm pretty happy with the way everything's gone so far this year."

Tim Andrews, Jeff Green and Tony Raines failed to qualify for the 43-car field.

FAS Lane Racing is proud to announce that TMone has increased their sponsorship involvement once again with the team’s No. 32 entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and will serve as Primary Sponsor for this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway.  The leading Inside Sales Company, headquartered in Iowa City, IA will feature their “We Drive Sales” program on the No. 32 TMone Ford piloted by Reed Sorenson in the running of the STP 400 this Sunday. It will also feature the State outlines of South Dakota and Iowa, which represent the locations of the customer contact centers TMone uses to support its Fortune 500 clients.

“TMone has been with us each and every race so far this season and we didn’t have a Primary sponsor lined up for this week so they jumped at the chance to have the TMone logo prominently displayed on our car this week,” stated FAS Lane Racing team owner Frank Stoddard. “We are like many other teams in the garage looking for sponsorship and to have the continued support of TMone is a pleasure for me and our team. We appreciate their support and hope everyone else in the NASCAR community continues to support great sponsors such as TMone.”

FAS Lane Racing is coming off a tough run last week in Texas that was ruined by an overheating problem. Reed Sorenson will be behind the wheel of the No. 32 Ford for the second week in a row and will be making his seventh career Sprint Cup Series start at the Kansas Speedway where he has a career best finish of seventh back in the 2007 season.

“We are excited about supporting FAS Lane Racing and having Reed Sorenson behind the wheel of our No. 32 TMone Ford,” said John Burchert, TMone’s COO.  “We feel that Reed is going to surprise a lot of people and we are proud to be a part of this combination of Reed and FAS Lane Racing.  As NASCAR becomes more and more about B2B activation programs we love to see our TMone relationships grow in the garage area.”

FAS Lane Racing PR

Farmland Foods today announced a partnership with the legendary Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR team. Farmland will appear on the iconic No. 43 Ford Fusion as the primary sponsor in four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in Chicago, Kansas, Texas and Phoenix.

“Farmland is proud to partner with ‘The King’ and NASCAR’s first family,” said George Richter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Smithfield Foods Pork Group. “Richard Petty Motorsports is an ideal team to help raise awareness of the good work our company is doing.”

Through the partnership, Farmland will bring greater awareness to hunger relief efforts in its hometown of Kansas City. As part of Farmland’s “Bacon a Difference” initiative, Farmland will feature Harvesters—The Community Food Network on the famous No. 43 Ford, unveiled today, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Kansas Speedway in October.

“Farmland is privileged to showcase our partnership with Harvesters in the fight against hunger when the need for nourishment among Kansas City area residents is at an all-time high,” said Mike Brown, President and Chief Operating Officer of Farmland.

During the “Bacon A Difference” promotion, which runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (May 26—September 3), Farmland will donate 4.3 cents to Harvesters for each bacon product sold at participating grocery stores in Kansas City. When the No. 43 Ford featuring Farmland and Harvesters returns to the Kansas Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series event in October, Farmland will present Harvesters with a check for no less than $43,000.

“Farmland is just the kind of company we like to call our partner,” indicated Richard Petty, NASCAR legend and co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. “We’re excited to have Farmland and Harvesters on the No. 43 Ford at the Kansas Speedway this fall. That’s a victory in itself.”

Farmland’s focus on hunger relief includes a long-standing partnership with Harvesters. In 2011, Farmland donated 1.3 million servings of protein to Harvesters, exceeding Farmland’s goal to provide at least 1 million meals annually to people in need.

“The donations we receive from Farmland through the ‘Bacon A Difference’ partnership will put much needed food on the table for Kansas Citians at a time when one in four children in Missouri and one in five kids in Kansas are at risk of being hungry,” said Harvesters President and Chief Executive Officer Karen Haren. “We’re honored to be the recipient of Farmland’s generous donation and are thrilled to see the No. 43 Ford spread the word about this important cause on the track this fall.”

RPM PR